Two new NKJ funded networks in agroecology and soil health

Two new networks are granted funding after the latest NKJ call in soil health and agroecology connected to living labs and calls in Horizon Europe.


The deadline for application was April 1st. The NKJ board decided, at its latest meeting in May, to fund two new networks: CoverCropsNordic and TerraNordica.

The focus areas of the call was soil health and agroecology connected to living labs and calls in Horizon Europe. The aim of the call was to promote Nordic collaboration between researchers from agricultural and food sectors by networking activities. Transdisciplinary networks between researchers and stakeholders was especially encouraged.

CoverCropsNordic will work to improve the understanding of the effects of cover crops on greenhouse gas balances, particularly under humid and temperate conditions of Northern Europe. The participants see a great interest among farmers for adopting cover crops in the crop rotation, but also an urgent need to exchange experiences about how to avoid the risk of draw-backs by using appropriate species and management. The network will focus on soil health and agroecology by using cover cropping.

NKJ is looking forward to the outcomes of this much needed initiative!

TerraNordica aims to provide guidelines on how agroecological management systems can be analysed on their effects on soil health by identifying a set of robust indicators. The network will contribute to structure and support a network of living labs and research infrastructures that will accelerate the transition towards agroecology throughout Europe.

“The significance of the work proposed in TerraNordica lies in improved understanding of the interaction between agroecological management systems and soil health” wrote the applicants in their application.

NKJ will follow the work with great interest!

NKJ will report on the activities in these new researcher networks in our newsletter and in our social medias:

Find all NKJ funded researcher networks here!

New nutritional recommendations for both health and the environment

The new nutrion recommendations are not only guidelines for better health for humans, but also link health with the health of the planet.


In order for our food to be useful and sustainable for the future on Earth, we must eat less meat, and more fish and vegetables. That is the conclusion formulated in the new Nordic nutritional recommendations 2023 which are just launched. The recommendations are based on the best available science on food consumption, health, and the environment and shows that human health and sustainability goes hand in hand.

The nutrition recommendations are the result of four years of hard work by a project group within the Nordic Council of Ministers and lots of researchers and others engaged. The report provides a shared evidence-based foundation which assists the countries in developing dietary guidelines, but also receives international attention.

The new recommendations have changed on a number of points compared to the previous edition.

See what changes have been made to the nutritional recommendations

Find the Nordic nutritional recommendations 2023 here

LUKE presents their digital testbeds to Nordic testbed Network

Nordic Testbed Network will arrange an afternoon event for the network participants June 8th. The hosts at LUKE will present their relevant work.


The event will take place in LUKE, Helsinki, Finland, where the participants will be presented to work going on with smart farming, digital twins in agriculture, digital monitoring and assessment in animal welfare and more. Presenters will be Matti PastellAntti SuokannasKim KaustellJere Kaivosoja and other colleagues at Luke.

The Nordic Testbed Network has a broad network, so there will also be presentations of projects like RAS, Digital Forests, Vertical Farming and DIMA. Of course there will be time for informal meetings, conversations and contacts. There will be dinner served for those participating physically, but some will be joining by Zoom.

– We want to provide the best arena for knowledge exchange between Nordic actors in digital innovation, to facilitate development that contributes to a sustainable society, says the organizer Tatiana Proisy, Analysys Mason.


The Nordic Testbed Network: Digitalisation plays a vital role in the rapid development of the Nordic and Baltic bioeconomy. Access to cutting edge platforms for development, so-called testbeds, where new digital knowledge and technology can be developed is fundamental. To meet this need, and to support the digital transformation of the Nordic and Baltic bioeconomy, the Nordic Testbed Network was initiated.

Discuss sustainable food systems in different Nordic contexts

What do sustainable agro-marine food systems mean in different Nordic contexts? This is the focus for an upcoming webinar (June 14th) arranged by an NKJ co-funded network.


Formally, the Nordic region consists of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and the self-governed Danish areas of Greenland, the Faeroe Islands and the Finnish self-governed isles of Åland. Altogether it is an area of 3,5 million km² with a total of 25 million inhabitants. If on one hand, the Nordic countries share many characteristics and give place to a common food culture, on the other there are also enormous differences among them.

Aim of this webinar is to explore the commonalities, differences and peculiarities of the Nordic national food systems and try to understand if there is just one common Nordic approach to food sustainability or many.

You are warmly welcome to join our webinar and join the discussion about the Nordic food systems!

The time for the webinar is 14th of June 2023, 12:00 – 14:00 CET (UTC +2).

Please register by June 12th!

Agenda for the webinar (CET time)

12:00 Welcoming words Silvia Gaiani, Senior Researcher at Helsinki University Ruralia Institute and Coordinator of the NKJ funded Nordic Research Network

12:05 Introduction by the moderator Maja Kruuse, ICE Innovation Festival in Kirkenes, Norway

12:15 The Norwegian food system with a special view to food consumption and sustainability Gunnar Vittersø, Senior Researcher, SIFO – National Institute for Consumer Research, OSLOMET, Norway

12:30 The Finnish food system: A selection of specificities and issues Xavier Irz, Professor, Department of Economics and Management – Agricultural Economics – University of Helsinki, Finland 

12:45 Sustainable food provision from an indigenous perspective – Sami perspectives from Sweden Ildiko Aztalos Morell, Associate Professor in Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden

13:00 Local knowledge and skill sharing – a key pillar of sustainability and resilience to the Faroese food system Sunniva Gudmundsdóttir Mortensen, anthropologist, food activist and social entrepreneur, Faroe Islands

13:15 Barriers to a circular blue bioeconomy in Iceland Nína M. Saviolidis, Post-doc researcher, University of Iceland, Iceland

13:30 Importance of innovation and collaboration in the food system in Denmark Lars Visbech Sørensen, CEO, Food Bio cluster Denmark, Denmark

13:45-14:00 Q&A


Silvia Gaiani

Iida Alasentie

Finland on the right path to the future reindeer husbandry

Reindeer husbandry in Finland is on the right track. Conservation of biodiversity, different interests in land use and sustainable, future reindeer pasturing – everything is included in the plan that a working group has put together. This was presented and discussed at a webinar arranged by NKJ on Tuesday 9 May.
Svensk text längre ner


Sirviö Tapani, chairman of the working group, was the first speaker at the webinar. He spoke about the goal of the working group to bring together authorities, reindeer husbandry practitioners, researchers and nature conservation organizations to take part in a dialogue. It turned out to be a fruitful dialogue, that resulted in eight goals for the future.

The eight goals were presented on the webinar by Sirpa Rasmus, the reporting secretary in the working group.

1 The first point deals with the reindeer grazing species-specific management and utilization plans for the reindeer pastures that have been developed, that are being tested in pilot trials in 2023. The working group suggests listening to the experiences from the trials, and proceeding with the plans as they are formulated today. A reduction in the number of reindeer by 7% is considered by the working group to be sufficient to prevent grazing pressure from becoming too heavy.

2 The working group believe it is important to develop a producer organization in order to strengthen the bargaining power of reindeer husbandry on the market, and thereby increase the possibilities for good profitability.

3 Climate change affects reindeer husbandry. The legislation that provides compensation for losses in connection with extreme weather needs to be developed, as well as the industry’s own tools to reduce the effects of weather- and environmental conditions, as well as animal diseases.

4 Today’s price and operational support should be changed to a support that is not linked to production volume, to become an income transfer for the producer. This needs to be further investigated and a new system introduced by way of a transition period.

5 Reindeer herding is a living part of the cultural heritage of the local communities in the reindeer herding area, and is strongly linked to the language and other culture of the indigenous people. The proposal is to investigate through research whether the current support system fulfills its purpose.

6 A foundation could function as a tool to simultaneously secure the reindeer’s habitat and maintain and strengthen a diverse mountain nature. The two interests often coincide.

7 Land use issues become more and more tangible and create conflicts. Therefore, active work must be done to create dialogue between the parties that are affected.

8 Monitoring and observation systems are important for reindeer husbandry to be able to adapt to new conditions.

Another issue touched upon by the working group is predator management. This was also an issue that was raised in the discussion by the participants of the webinar. The working group thinks it is necessary to find models for how to avoid predator damage to reindeer, while following the plans for the management of the predator tribes that exist. Reindeer management, land use, but also the examination of the damage and the estimation of the predator strains can be developed in this respect.

Sirpa Rasmus presentation


Svensk text
Rennäringen i Finland är på rätt väg. Bevarande av den biologiska mångfalden, olika intressen av markanvändning och ett hållbart, framtida renbete – allt ryms i planen som en arbetsgrupp har lagt upp. Detta framkom vid ett webbinarium arrangerat av NKJ tisdagen 9 maj.


Sirviö Tapani, ordförande för arbetsgruppen, inledde webbinariet genom att berätta om hur arbetsgruppen har velat sammanföra myndigheter, rennäring, forskare och naturvårdsorganisationer i en dialog. Det blev en fruktbar dialog, som också ledde arbetsgruppen fram till åtta mål för framtiden.

De åtta målen presenterades på webbinariet av Sirpa Rasmus, rapporteringssekreterare i arbetsgruppen.

1 Den första punkten handlar om de renbeteslagsspecifika skötsel- och nyttjandeplaner för renbetesmarkerna som tagits fram, och också testas i pilotförsök under 2023. Arbetsgruppen föreslår att man lyssnar till erfarenheterna från försöken, och går vidare med planerna så som de är formulerade idag. En minskning av antalet renar med 7% anser arbetsgruppen räcker för att betestrycket inte ska bli för stort.

2 Arbetsgruppen tycker att det är viktigt att utveckla en producentorganisation för att stärka rennäringens förhandlingskraft på marknaden, och därmed öka möjligheterna för en god lönsamhet.

3 Klimatförändringarna påverkar rennäringen. Lagstiftningen som ger ersättning vid förluster i samband med extremt väder behöver utvecklas, liksom näringen egna verktyg för att minska effekterna av väder- och naturförhållanden och djursjukdomar.

4 Dagens pris- och insatsstöd bör förändras till ett stöd som inte är kopplat till produktionen, för att bli en inkomst för producenten. Detta behöver utredas och ett nytt system införas via en övergångsperiod.

5 Renskötseln är en levande del av lokalsamfundens kulturarv i renskötselområdet, och är starkt kopplad till ursprungsfolkets språk och övriga kultur. Förslaget är att genom forskning utreda om det nuvarande stödsystemet fyller sitt syfte.

6 En stiftelse skulle kunna fungera som ett verktyg för att samtidigt trygga renarnas livsrum och upprätthålla och stärka en mångsidig fjällnatur. De båda intressena sammanfaller ofta.

7 Markanvändningsfrågor blir mer och mer påtagliga och skapar konflikter. Därför måste ett aktivt arbete göras för att skapa dialog mellan de parter som påverkas.

8 Övervaknings- och observationssystem är viktiga för att rennäringen ska kunna anpassa sig till nya förhållanden.

En annan fråga som berörts av arbetsgruppen är rovdjurshanteringen. Det var också en fråga som deltagarna på webbinariet tog upp till diskussion. Arbetsgruppen tycker att det är nödvändigt att hitta modeller för hur rovdjursskador på ren ska undvikas, samtidigt som man följer de planer för hanteringen av rovdjursstammarna som finns. Renskötseln, markanvändningen, men också granskningen av skadorna och uppskattningen av rovdjursstammarna kan utvecklas i det här avseendet.

Webinar: Towards a profitable, sustainable and culturally significant reindeer husbandry in Finland

Join the webinar “Towards a profitable, sustainable and culturally significant reindeer husbandry in Finland” 9th of May! The webinar is based on a recently published report with the same name.
At the end of 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Finland appointed a multi-stakeholder working group: “Future of reindeer husbandry”. The group’s task was to prepare operating models for the management and use of reindeer pastures for each co-ops, as well as to assess other development needs for reindeer husbandry in Finland. The working group presented its proposals and recommendations in the final report (scroll to the bottom of the page to download) on February 28, 2023.
The webinar, that will be arranged on Teams, gives you the opportunity to hear a short introduction to the report by the working group’s chairman Tapani Sirviö (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry) and one of the research representatives, Sirpa Rasmus (University of Lapland). The report proposes some measures and recommendations that will also be presented. The participants will then be involved in a discussion based on the report.
1. Background for the work and working method
2. Measures and recommendations proposed by the working group
3. Discussion
Register via mail to . Write that you want to register for the “Towards a profitable, sustainable and culturally significant reindeer husbandry in Finland” webinar, your name and email.
Deadline: The link to the Teams meeting will be sent out to registered participants May 8th, so NKJ needs your registration at the latest May 8th at 12.00 AM!

NKJ report on challenges for reindeer husbandry in the Nordic region

Recently, NKJ arranged a conference on challenges for reindeer husbandry in the Nordic region. The conclusions from the conference and an overall view of the state of reindeer husbandry in the Nordic countries are now available in a report.


The topic of the 2022 conference was challenges to reindeer husbandry, in particular the impact of predators, as well as consequences of a changing climate in Sweden, Finland and Norway. The conference contained four parts: Part 1: Loss of reindeer to predators, Part 2: Governance, Part 3: Ongoing research projects and Part 4:  Reindeer husbandry in a changing climate. The report gives a summary of the presentations and discussions in each part.

The report also gives a long list of key take-aways from the conference. The importance of synthesis between traditional and scientific knowledge is one of the twelve points in the list. Download the report (below) to see all of the messages the participating researchers, authorities, organisations and stakeholders underline.

The Nordic Conference on Reindeer Husbandry was arranged 9-10 November 2022 at NIBIO Svanhovd, Pasvik, Norway.

Download report

See the recorded presentations from the conference

Here are the projects that will create our future food

Nordic food has achieved new milestones: four projects were granted funding in the New Nordic Food latest call.


1 Food as a pedagogical tool is a project addressing the challenge of sustainable eating habits as it is strongly connected to climate change, biodiversity loss, resilience of Nordic communities, low food self-sufficiency and loss of traditional knowledge. It also address teachers need of relevant and updated educational material and methods on sustainable food production and consumption.

This will be achieved by gathering, co-creating with pupils and testing food education models for schools (pupils ages 12-16) were school meals, food and route of food function as a practical pedagogical tool.

The project is a part of the bigger project Food education for future (FeFF), which aims to increase teachers’ and municipal employees’ knowledge of sustainable food and how an increased degree of self-sufficiency of food can be an adaptation to counteract climate change and support resilience in Nordic areas.


2 Building a New Nordic Food and sustainability program is a program with the long-term objectives to ensure an increased focus on sustainability and New Nordic Food within UWC Red Cross Nordic as a showcase for other similar schools and actors. The three primary short-term objectives of the project are to
1) Change the culinary profile of the school food into a Nordic Food and sustainable profile
2) Increase students’ knowledge and capacity regarding local foods and sustainability
3) Bring the knowledge from the project into humanitarian work with young people attending Red Cross ‘summer camps’ and students from ‘lejrskoler’ located at the UWC RCN campus.


3 Ungdommens Madmøde is a part of the bigger project Madens Folkemøde, which is a recurring event regarding food and food systems including among other things, master classes, workshops and food experiences. Now it is wanted to also include the children and youth in the event and this is to be done by the project Ungdommens Madmøde.

The hope is to create a platform for experts, teachers and institutions who are working with healthy, sustainable and locally produced food to children in the Nordic countries and at the same time involve children in the activities of the event. The objectives of the project are to
1) Create a Nordic Youth Food Meeting that practices the natural and culinary community that is Nordic food. And thereby show how positive experiences can involvechildren in a sustainable, Nordic food culture.
2) Create a – preferably an annually recurring – Nordic symposium to develop food experiences for children and how food for children is part of the major social challenges.
3) Increase public interest in the societal goals that can be achieved by working with prevalence and quality and Nordic ideals in public meals for children.

4 Seminar på Røros (Norge) om «terroir» og lokale smaker knyttet til nordiske melkeprodukter is a project which aims to create a Nordic arena for the exchange of expertise and knowledge between the professional community, business, educational institutions and future farmers and employees in the industry.

This is done by arranging a seminar at the dairy Rørosmeieriet. Rørosmeieriet is the largest dairy in Norway which produces organic milk and milk products and the place where it is located, Røros, is an important area for locally produced food and food products.


What is New Nordic Food?

OPEN CALL: soil health and agroecology

Soil health is fundamental for a sustainable agriculture. Even more so in a future with a warmer climate. Therefore, NKJ announces funding for networks that can bring the issue to the future.


You can apply for funding for networking activities for researchers and stakeholders in soil health and agroecology. NKJ will fund networks for two years with at most 300.000 SEK. Network grants are from August 2023 to April 2025.

Apply at the latest April 1st – you are welcome with your application today!

The focus area of this call is soil health and agroecology connected to living labs and the upcoming call in Horizon Europe. Living labs are research and innovation arenas which are user-centred, place-based and transdisciplinary. The involvement of partners from research, farming, forestry etc., policy makers and other stakeholders will ensure the co-design of systemic research, testing, monitoring, evaluation, adoption and spreading of solutions.

The aim of the call is to promote Nordic collaboration between researchers from agricultural and food sectors by networking activities including workshops, conferences and seminars. Transdisciplinary networks between researchers and stakeholders are encouraged.

NKJ networks should include applicants from research institutions from at least three different countries in the Nordic region. Stakeholders are encouraged to participate but cannot be the main applicant. PhD students and young researchers should be included in the network.

Men and women must be represented by a minimum of 40% each of the participants in the network. NKJ also encourages persons with other gender orientations to participate.

Call text with all information you need (Word)

Call text (PDF)

Application form

NKJ strategy

The purpose of NKJ networking:

  • Facilitate collaboration between researchers in the Nordic countries by networking activities.
  • Interlink research projects initiated in the Nordic region
  • Increase synergies in agriculture and food sector research in the Nordic countries
  • Bridge gaps between research and practice.
  • Encourage Nordic researchers and institutions to apply for funding from larger funds like e.g. Horizon Europe.

PhD course in Aarhus: “Applied methods in crop physiology”

The NKJ funded network NordCrop will arrange a new PhD course in March. The focus will be applied methods in crop physiology.


The aim of the course is to provide an introduction to measurements of plant processes. The students should after the course be able to select and develop suitable methods for measuring and analysing data in their PhD work. The course will provide smoking hot knowledge and an overview of the current status of physiological measurement problems. Both new and emerging technologies will be presented.

The week will contain both lectures and hands on practice.

The course will be held in English. Requirements are relevant courses in crop physiology from MSc level.

The dates are 27-31 March 2023. Read more and registration here (at the latest Febr 1st).